U.S. Aid and Central America’s Drug War

Coverage of last week's regional security conference in Guatemala City was dominated by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's announcement that the U.S. intends to spend some $300 million helping Central American governments combat drug-related violence.

While the announcement might be considered politically delicate, given the growing unpopularity in Mexico of similar U.S. assistance in recent years, it also raises the question of how much Central American nations may be willing to match the U.S. commitment.

"What you see is that Central America governments' own investment doesn't match the magnitude of the problem, particularly when it comes to dedicating resources for violence prevention," says Adriana Beltrán, who leads the Citizen Security Program at the Washington Office on Latin America and attended last week's conference.

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